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  Australia, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates

Environment - Current Issues


Soil erosion from overgrazing, industrial development, urbanization, and poor farming practices; soil salinity rising due to the use of poor quality water; desertification; clearing for agricultural purposes threatens the natural habitat of many unique animal and plant species; the Great Barrier Reef off the northeast coast, the largest coral reef in the world, is threatened by increased shipping and its popularity as a tourist site; limited natural fresh water resources.   The worst environmental devastation occurred with the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The Iraqis unleashed the worst kind of environmental terrorism the world had ever witnessed — the burning oil wells, creation of thousands of oil-lakes, oil slicks, million of land mines — all of which severely damaged the vegetation, marine life and other flora and fauna.   Limited natural fresh water resources are increasing dependence on large-scale desalination facilities.   Lack of natural freshwater resources compensated by desalination plants; desertification; beach pollution from oil spills.